Google has opened up its first permanent retail store in London, housed inside Dixons Carphone's Currys PC World store on Tottenham Court Road, and it plans on opening two more in the London area. The stores will allow customers to interact with and purchase Google products such as smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, Chromecasts and smartwatches.
Although the locations are not in the U.S. and none of them are standalone stores -- they will all be sections within Currys PC World -- the move is still a significant shift in Google's approach to bricks-and-mortar.
"They're dipping their toes into real world waters to see how well they can execute on that and how important it is to their customers," said Arun Sundararajan, a professor of information sciences at NYU Stern School of Business.
Sundararjan added, "There's this growing convergence between online and offline where pure-play online and pure-play physical stores are going to be dominated by these hybrids over the coming years. One part of the motivation here is perhaps preparing for the world where in order to have consumer mindshare you need both online and real world presence."
Beyond selling products, Google is also turning the shop into an innovative experience with what it calls "an immersive surround-screen installation" that lets shoppers travel through Google Earth. They can also digitally alter Google's logo with their own artistic flair.